I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a little bit of a stressful year at times!
Business owners and employees alike having to think on their feet, pivot, make huge decisions, try and juggle a LOT.
Revenue streams drying up overnight. Furlough. Redundancy. It’s not been pretty in many cases.
Not helped by a little anxiety, stress and overwhelm thrown in for good measure.
Stress can really stop you in your tracks, make everything feel like you’re pushing water uphill and like you just can’t see your next step.
Your nervous system has gone into overdrive.
This means your IQ decreases, your heart rate and blood pressure increases, your ability to think creatively seems to disappear.
It’s not a fun place to be.
But most of us are living with some level of stress activation constantly.
And it doesn’t need to be that way.
Even when the proverbial has hit the fan and there’s a million things going on that make those feelings of stress completely legitimate.
It still doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t have to stay in that state.
And it’s easier than you might think to change it.
So I wanted to run you through my tried and tested, often counter intuitive, ways to get out of the downward spiral so you can get back on track and get what you need to do, done!
I’ve also created something extra special for you so you can start doing this right now, so stick around!
One thing I’m always teaching my clients is the power of taking a step back to take two steps forwards.
When you’re in stress and overwhelm your nervous system goes into overdrive. You’re in fight or flight. Your sympathetic nervous system is activated and flooding your body with stress hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol.
The long term negative effects of staying in stress are plentiful, as well as the short term physiological feelings and inability to actually think straight, make good decisions or get anything done (thus increasing the frustration!)so it’s important you can create the awareness needed to make a different choice in the moment so you DON’T stay there.
Awareness is always the first key to making any change. The ability to catch yourself in those moments and go, ‘hmmm i’m feeling stressed/overwhelmed’ etc or noticing the physiological changes that are individual to you and your response are going to be important.
Once you know what they are you can then set about regulating your nervous system…and it’s easier, quicker and more counter intuitive than you might think!
Now, I hear what you’re saying… ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I just need to power through’. I know this, because i’ve been you…and it doesn’t work.
So do yourself a favour and take the 10-15 minutes which could give you hours back in your day. And years back to your life!
If you can take the time, just give it a try and see the difference it makes…and how quickly it makes it.
So these are a few of my personal favourites to give you a few ideas. Have a think about what always relaxes you, what makes you feel good, calm, in control.
Then stick post its or reminders in places where you often feel that stress…so a great place would be your computer ha!
Remember we’re forming a new habit so we need the trigger to remind us of the tools we have in our toolkit.
So here we go, my faves.
So I will go outside and water the plants and the greenhouse. I’ll walk outside barefoot. I’ll sit in the garden chair and do a mindful exercise noticing what I’m seeing, hearing, smelling etc. I’ll do some grounding where I imagine roots growing from my feet into the earth. It sounds weird but it works a treat. It just grounds you into the present moment and reconnects you with where you are, when you are and into your body. Remember stress usually happens when we’re either worrying about something that’s happened (living in the past) or worrying about something that MIGHT happen (living in the future).
Get out in nature or for a quick walk. It does wonders for the stress levels. For me, if I can get near water it’s an extra little oomph. So i’ll walk down to the canal or occasionally hop in the car to the beach.
Easy right? You’d think so, when we’re stressed we tend to breathe quite shallow and from our chest so when you can take more of a deep belly breath it really helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. I’m a big fan of breathwork too so have a google or search on Youtube for some breathwork tutorials. Even a few minutes can completely change my state of mind and give me a natural buzz, clarity and focus. I’m fairly new to it but i’m obsessed.
You can incorporate ten minutes of Yoga, tai chi or Qigong. Anything that works with the breath and allows you to be conscious of it.
If you follow me on Instagram (@imfranexcell)you’ll often see me doing my quick oat and raisin cookies.
Again, it’s a complete distraction. It’s mindful. You’re weighing and measuring so your mind is off the ‘problem’ and I often find that’s the very thing that gets my creative thinking going again.
It’s the magic step back to take two forward. If you’re one of those people who always gets their best ideas in the shower or the car then you’ll relate to this and get exactly what I mean!
Do something creative
This works just the same as the cooking. Something that you LOVE doing that’s creative.
I’m looking to learn knitting next. But anything like drawing, painting, sculpting, upcycling, making jewellery. Anything that gives you a double whammy of being something you love but also relaxing, mindful and allowing you to activate the all important parasympathetic nervous system.
I am a BIG fan of a power nap! BUT there are rules to be adhered to for this one so it doesn’t mean you wake up feeling MORE stressed and sleepy.
I set a timer for 25 minutes which means realistically there will only be a 20 minute power nap, allowing me to work with my sleep cycles so I wake up feeling super refreshed and ready to go. I often like to do this on my Shakti mat too to get that extra benefit of those lovely endorphins leading to zen type feelings!
Saving the best for last! The ultimate regulator for me. I meditate daily and when i’m stressed out or super busy I meditate MORE, not less.
It really is an amazing and easy way to get back on track.
If you’ve tried meditation before and didn’t feel like you were ‘good at it’ this leads me NICELY onto the special something i’ve created for you. I’ve created a FREE ‘Stressed To Success’ meditation for you. Even when you think you have no time and you’re not ‘good’ at. It incorporates a few of my favourite techniques in one meditation to really get you out of the stress cycle and back on track. It’s been road tested to rave reviews from clients and I’m really proud to share it with you so you can access it HERE I hope you love it as much as I do.
So there you have MY favourite ways to get out of stress and back to it in the quickest time possible.
I know they seem counterintuitive and like you don’t have time but you will find you get SO much more done so give them a go or write your own list.
What calms my nervous system may not always work for you so find YOUR thing, but just know and understand that you have WAY more control than you think you do.
When you can create that awareness, notice the stress response early on and consciously choose to do something differently it will help you no end.
You’ll be able to make better decisions, get more done, stop overthinking, feel more in control.
So as usual, it’s worth a go right?!
P.S – Last question…Are you sick of self sabotaging and procrastinating on getting your business going? Would you like to learn some practical strategies to stop you procrastinating WHEN it happens so you can FINALLY get the things you NEED to do DONE? Download my FREE guide below and I’ll show you 5 simple strategies to stop procrastination in its tracks!
Check out The Positive Pants Podcast here
Fran Excell, Mindset & Productivity Coach – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com
Download your FREE Stressed To Success Meditation here